“A maker never gives up to his creation, as a believer can never abandon God!
The highlight of my career is when I am on stage, at my desk, paint; write a book or a psalm….”
You have a 50-year career that any artist would love to boast about. When did you first cross path with music, more exactly when did your start playing the pan flute?
It is actually 60, but 50 sounds more agreeable for the mass-media. I went up on the stage with the mandolin band in Gaiesti city in 1950, when I was 9, then at 12 with the accordion. In Bucharest of the year 1947, I listened to a band of blind instrumental performers. I remember a girl playing at a white accordion and me staring at her until I got frozen in the snow. My father had come to buy commodities as he had a grocery store in Gaiesti…This is how I met music!
Why were you interested in this folk instrument?
I was 14 when I finally convinced my father to take me to the special music school, after two and a half years of begging him! This is where I saw a pan flute for the first time and I met the great professor Fanica Luca. I studied with him for six years, between 1955 and 1961, when I took the entrance exam at Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest, to major in teaching and chorus conducting.
You played on the greatest world stages side by side with very many famous singers. How was the first time of you on an international stage?
I had the same emotions there as I did in Romania. Nothing else was more special. But the contact with the public in 2,000-2,500 seat halls brings an ENORMOUS excitement…plus, it was the responsibility of the artistic art….
How is it to be a such acclaimed artist?
Celebrity becomes a STATE… a state of grace! When you do not have it and you know you could have, it is rather sad; but when you do have it, after six decades of hard work, effort, emotions, creation, it seems to you that this is how it should be and not having it would be unfair…well, it becomes a habit…you cannot believe that you are famous!
Tell us about your debut as a soloist. Did not you have a moment when to choose another path?
At first, I had decided on the accordion. Later on, though, I arrived at conclusion that the PAN FLUTE is going to be my instrument for life. After a few tragic and comic events, many years along the line, I understood that the FLUTE had actually chosen me, and not the other way around.
As a soloist, my first time was on the stage at the high school in Bucharest, accompanied by piano or a small band of fiddlers; after that, I played at communist factories in concerts for the workers – the high school was sending us there, as a propaganda for the regime. When I was 18, 19 and 20, I played folk music for my graduation exams, along with a piano…only folk music.
Did the international public also recognize the fact that you were Romanian or that your interpretation was special?
Of course they knew I was Romanian. Back in 1972, the ONT (National Tourism Office) was already organizing the 12-day tour of Romania in Moldova, Maramures and the sightseeings in Wallachia. For the last day, the brochure included a visit to Gheorghe Zamfir’s childhood house, for 10 o’clock. It was an amazing achievement. Today, no one is looking at these outstanding advertising acts. The Americans are the only ones we hear about. In France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, they were looking at me like a miracle coming from the eastern part of Europe (The Romania behind the wall!). They were all humming my songs – Hora ca la caval, Doina de jale, Doina ca la Visina; they were even following us from one country to another to listen to us more!
What is the concert that you loved most and stuck to your soul?
All my concerts were a real event, revelation, surprise, creation, a PREMIERE, no matter that I was playing with the fiddlers, piano, organ, in churches or cathedrals, chamber orchestra or symphonic. During every concert I was building a certain MOOD, TIME, A UNIQUE SPACE that could not be compared to ANYTHING!
But what was your favorite stage partner?
My choice of partner on the stage was myself, the duality of my EGO! And God…
Were you nervous when you were getting on the stage?
In 1978, Benone Sinulescu gave me propranolol, a 0.10 mg relaxant before I went on the Romanian Atheneum stage, in order to calm down the tremor of my hands and throat. I am 72 and have been taking it ever since; the dose can reach 0.20 mg or 0.30 mg, depending on the importance of the concert.
How do you get along with the new pan flute soloists in Romania?
Our relationship is PRECARIOUS. In 1970, I was the only soloist on the stage worldwide, with a two-hour PAN FLUTE concert. Today, there are almost 2,000 players who think that they can become Gheorghe Zamfir with 5, 10 or 20 songs and win the universe.
I taught 10 flute players between 2000 and 2005 at the National University of Music. They are excellent children who are high school teachers in Romania and whom I keep in contact with. I see some of them on a regular basis but, generally speaking, the world flute hosts a real war coming from jealousy and competition. The pan flute is a PURELY INITIATIC instrument, almost impossible to approach at the DIVINE LEVEL and very difficult at the human level, in the complexity of the today’s life.
Does Romania have the best flute soloists?
It really does. I can name some of my former students – Radu Nechifor in Sibiu, Flavius Tinica in Tulcea – who lives in Bucharest, Petruta Küpper in Munich, Marius Iordan from Tulcea, Ruxandra Pitulice from Bucharest, Pal Alexandru in Alba Iulia and Geanina Dumitru in Brasov.
What is the highlight of your career?
The focal point of my career is when I am on stage, at my desk, paint, write a book or a psalm, my quiet time in prayers….
Any moments of doubt, times when you wanted to just give it up?
There is no ABANDON in the real creation, surender or doubt.
A maker never gives up to his creation, a believer can never abandon God!
Do you have any regrets towards some circumstances in your life?
No regrets whatsoever, except that I have been naive and gullible before the jackals in Romania and abroad, who tricked my out of $5 millions during my career. I have never had the time to bring them to account, all these sharks who destroyed my life. But the right moment will surely come.
Do you have any disappointments in career or private life?
My professional achievements are out there, I left over 2,500 songs to be inherited by my nation and humanity.
As for my private life, I had to go through two tragic, awful exiles who left a deep wound in my heart. A disastrous relation in Canada and an even worse marriage, a real cataclysm, in France.
I also regret that I came back to the country where I have been TOTALLY DEVOURED and annihiled by the politicians and the occult forces here and in the world. In my country, I should have been a first-place world-size artist. Voted by 1.5 billions. Like it happened in Brazil, where soccer player Pele was named a national hero, with bodyguards; the same with Senna, the Formula One pilot. In Argentina, Maradona is a semi-god! And look at me, what have I been getting since 1990 until today? Nothing. Only bad press, insults, taunts, critics, defamation, scandal, kicked out of all the major and prestigious events!
What was your muse in your musical compositions?
God was my major source of inspiration in creation…and the NATURE with everything in it! Except for the violent animals. Everything that is gentle, beautiful and GOOD inspired me!
You are also a painter. What made you turn to painting and where do you select your models from?
My painting is sound! I name my paintings symphonies, sonnets, sonatinas. Astral motifs! Any color is a SOUND and vice versa!
Have you ever played in a casino? If YES, do you have any sweet moment or a bitter one about it? What is your favorite game?
Does a real Creator have time to play? I can hardly find time to breathe. Every gesture and a breath of air cannot be wasted in the creative space!
To play, you need a lot of money, time and desire. I have never had any of these! My money is with the ones who took it!
Do you see yourself a lucky man?
I am a lucky man thanks to GRACE! Not anyone has this GIFT that can be trivially called GOOD LUCK!
You were presented with the Special Award for Outstanding Career during the sixth edition of the Awards Gala of Casino Life & Business Magazine. Can you explain what is the meaning of this award for you?
This Special Award given to me by Casino Life & Business Magazine for my entire career represents the crowning of my life in all four corners of the world, for 55 years! It is a great gratification, a huge satisfaction!
I do not have words to thank you enough!
What are your professional plans for the year of 2014? What about your private life?
This year, I really want to have my rights be acknowledged, after a life of work and superhuman efforts, a gift to the whole world. I want to have a happy marriage, a true family in my house and garden – with the birds and my beloved wife, in God’s bosom!
I also want to finish my project Dracula, the symphonies and concerts still on my desk.
A few words for the readers of our publication Casino Life & Business Magazine?
I wish the readers of Casino Life & Business Magazine a long life, good luck, joy galore, big achievements, good health and happiness!
Gheorghe Zamfir invited at ICE 2014
The guests of the 2014 edition to take place in London –ICE, the greatest gambling exhibition in the world, will walk onto a surprise.
Maestro Gheorghe Zamfir, recently presented by our publication Casino Life & Business Magazine, the first magazine of the gambling industry in Romania, with the special award ‚Outstanding Artistic Career’ during the Awards Gala in December 2013, will have a concert dedicated to whom will visit the booth of the Romanian company Baum Games.
Thus, the representatives of Baum company, also a second-time awarded with „The Romanian Producer of the Year” at the same Awards Gala hosted by Casino Life & Business Magazine, the 6th edition, will make all the efforts to create a Romanian atmosphere at their exhibition stand, which will supplement the Romanian games with traditional wine and music.